Left-Over Hallelujahs

Lou Lotz

READ : Psalm 113

Praise, O servants of the Lord . . . (v. 1)

Today and on the Sundays which mark the season we call Lent, join me in reflecting on the words of Psalms 113 through 118. These psalms, called The Hallel in their original Jewish context, ought to play a special role in the worship life of every Christian.

Originally they made up the prayers of the Passover meal celebrated by ancient Israel, and they were undoubtedly the words that Jesus prayed with his trembling disciples gathered around him at the Last Supper. With the shadow of the cross hanging over his heart he lifted up the cup of our salvation and prayed, Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord; praise the name of the Lord!

Here, in the most unlikely and difficult of places, Jesus taught his disciples that “the name of the Lord is to be praised.” Some years ago, I returned to the sanctuary after our Easter morning worship service to pick up something I had left behind. I caught our startled janitor singing a homespun version of the Hallelujah Chorus. I congratulated his effort and he embarrassingly responded, “I guess I still have some ‘Hallelujahs’ left over!” At the end of this Lenten season, Holy Week, and Easter, may we be able to say the same.

PRAYER

From the rising of the sun to its setting, blessed be the name of the Lord!